Hot new jobs – data science
Considering a change in career in the coming year? Data Science is looking like it will be a hot skill in big demand. With the rise of big data throughout 2011, many people are now beginning to realise that big data — especially analytics at scale — is set to be a new intellectual 'power tool' for business competitiveness, scientific research and public policy. And it looks like demand for those with data science aptitude that can cleverly blend advanced math with social sciences will be a sustained need for an entirely new class of knowledge workers.
As an employer, you're going to inevitably want a team of these people on your staff so you can exploit these new opportunities that big data is creating — and if you are thinking of up-skilling yourself, then these are proficiencies that will be extremely valuable to have moving forward.
Focused IT service providers: More attractive than ever
Smaller, more nimble IT service providers focusing on specific regions or verticals are set to become even more attractive in the coming year as IT continues its transformation to specialisation, as they utilise their deeper knowledge of you, your IT landscape and your industry — and as the big, faceless and undifferentiated IT service providers become less appealing.
Enterprise IT: Now forced to compete
Business users are becoming increasingly aware that internal IT is just one of many places where they can get the IT resources they need with the internal IT monopoly as we know it breaking up. While we saw this IT transformation budding a few years ago, this has really snowballed to the extent that next year internal enterprise IT departments are going to need to acknowledge that the IT world has fundamentally changed, and it's not going back to the way it was anytime soon. They are now truly facing competition from external suppliers.
IT security: Time to think differently
The prevalence and intensity of advanced persistent threats (APTs) are increasing, and will continue to remain as a major concern in 2012; what was once just a concern for the defence industry is now a wider issue for all private sector organisations.
In order to deal with these increasingly sophisticated attacks, organisations will need to change the way they think about risks and threats, focusing on protecting the assets that are most valuable to the organisation, assuming that the organisation can be (or already is) compromised and focussing on detecting this as early as possible in order to minimise damage. This shifts emphasis from the near-impossible task of preventing intrusion to the crucial task of preventing damage.
In line with this, expect to see more side channel attacks in 2012, where organisations with close associations to the actual target will be hit to acquire information to gain access to the actual target.
High-speed fibre means…
With the introduction of the NBN, high-speed fibre connections are going to result in a lot of exciting transformations in IT over the next few years, one of which includes meaningful backup and recovery becoming cost effective. Off-site replication for disaster recovery is set to grow quickly as the NBN comes online, and the excuse of not having a second location will no longer be viable as low-cost service providers increasingly provide the premises and services at an extremely reasonable cost.
More virtual, more functional, more mobile
The year of 2012 is set to see the continued transformation of what IT users see, breaking away from the old ‘desktop and documents’ era, to see highly functional applications that provide people answers without having to do tedious actions such as logging on, etc. This will be coupled with acceleration in the decline of the desktop in favour of mobile devices — but again, less the laptop/notebook mobile devices and more the iPad/tablet and smartphone gadgets.
This continued move to mobile is also set to spur a focus on security for data stored on mobile devices plus increased security against attacks on these devices.
On the home front
Over the next few years, broadcast and cable TV faces extinction at the hands of video on demand via the Web over the NBN. Phone services also face extermination at the hands of Skype/Microsoft — though don’t expect Skype to continue to be free!
Maybe not in 2012, but in the next few years definitely expect home appliances to become more networked with the fridge alerting the stove, ordering groceries, scheduling the dishwasher to operate during cheap electricity tariffs provided at unexpected times by smart power meters based on live demand. Think also of your personal video recorder recording any scheduled TV show and storing it until you get home or streaming it to your mobile device wherever you are, whenever you want it.
Clive Gold is the marketing CTO EMC Australia and New Zealand.